23 Feb 2011 11:02:20
Bags for life 'have lowest carbon footprint'
Bags for life have a lower carbon footprint than single-use plastic bags, providing they are used at least four times, a new study has suggested.
However, the research, which was conducted by the Environment Agency, found on a per use basis lightweight, single-use plastic bags have the lowest footprint, based on their resource use and production.
The low-density polyethylene bags for life need to be used four times for carbon savings to be achieved, while the woven plastic bags for life must be used 11 times.
Both paper bags and cotton bags were found to use more resources and energy in their production than lightweight plastic varieties.
A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said: "A significant part of the environmental impact of these bags is associated with the resources used in their production. All multi-use bags need to be reused as much as possible to reduce their relative environmental impact."
The findings of the study were welcomed by members of the packaging industry, which claims it has been saying plastic carrier bags provide some environmental benefits over cotton varieties for a number of years.